Sunday, October 30, 2011

Karpal: Crimes will rise under hudud laws | Free Malaysia Today

Karpal: Crimes will rise under hudud laws

Athi Shankar | October 30, 2011-FMT

Criminals would prefer hudud laws because it will be impossible for the prosecution to prove its case without four witnesses, argues the DAP national chairman.

GEORGE TOWN: Hudud laws will boost, and not deter, crimes because of the high standard of proof that would impede the prosecution from establishing its case, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh said here today.

He said the rigid requirement to have four witnesses under hudud laws meant that the case must be proven with certainty.

He said this was contrary to the current criminal legal system which only required the prosecution to prove a case beyond reasonable doubt.

Moreover, he added that under the hudud legal system, the four witnesses must be upright and good practising Muslims.

He said the prosecution would face a thorny task to produce four such witnesses to prove cases like adultery, zina, and khalwat or close proximity.

“Criminals would prefer hudud laws because it will be impossible for the prosecution to prove its case.

“Hudud will indeed set criminals to roam freely and crime will increase,” Karpal told reporters during his visit to his Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency.

Currently, the country is being governed by uniformed criminal laws for all enacted by Parliament.

The state governments, however, have the power to enact Muslim family or personal syariah laws.

Karpal brushed aside suggestions that hudud laws were God-made laws to deter crime and instill fear in the people, describing it as “a misconception”.

Referring to global human rights watchdog Amnesty International’s declaration that the death penalty was cruel and unjust punishment, he questioned the severity of amputating legs and arms under hudud laws.

“Hudud laws have no place in the country’s legal system,” he added.

He was commenting on Kelantan state executive councillor Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah’s call for the criminal laws to be made as severe as hudud laws to deter crime.

Amar is deputy chairman of the state technical committee studying hudud enactments and the Kelantan government official spokesman on hudud issues.

Larger issues

Karpal dismissed Amar’s proposal as “not a step in the right direction”.

He pointed out that the Penal Code was amended on Jan 15, 2008, providing for enhanced severity of punishments on several crimes.

For instance, the punishment for manslaughter under Section 304 was increased from 20 years in jail to a maximum of 30 years.

Punishment for rape under Section 376 has increased from five to 30 years, plus whipping while severe penalties were also introduced for sodomy and incest.

A new charge and punishment of a maximum five-year imprisonment have been enforced for husbands raping wives.

Karpal also recalled that in early 1990s then deputy home minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub has told Parliament that drug trafficking had increased in the country despite the introduction of mandatory death penalty under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

“This shows that severe punishment does not deter crime,” said Karpal.

He reiterated DAP’s opposition to the Islamist agenda of its Pakatan Rakyat ally, PAS.

“The DAP will cooperate with PAS on larger issues of public interests, but not on hudud and Islamic state.

“We are associated with PAS with a caveat that we oppose the Islamic agenda.

“It will not be included in Pakatan’s election manifesto,” he said.

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